AURORA | U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) hopes a legislative maneuver will give a boost to the BRIDGE Act, a bipartisan bill he’s championing as a semipermanent protection against the deportation of young immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally as children.
In a statement Tuesday, Sept. 5, Coffman’s aides said the congressman formally filed a discharge petition, which would force a floor vote on the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act, or BRIDGE Act, which was introduced in January along with an identical version in the Senate, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
The BRIDGE Act, if passed, would extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, for three years under the assumption that Congress could find a permanent solution before the act expires.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered the announcement on the ending of DACA earlier in the day.
“I’m here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Sessions said during the announcement, adding that the administration would give Congress six months to find a legislative fix.
Prior to announcing the petition, Coffman told the Aurora Sentinel that the BRIDGE Act could act as a temporary legislative fix and that it was meant to “send a message” to the Trump administration. Like many Republicans, Coffman said he believes the DACA executive order was unconstitutional but doesn’t think it should come at the expense of thousands of people protected by the program who only know the United States as home.
“I’ve met many of these young people in Colorado who were brought to the United States as children and who grew up here, who went to school here and who often know of no other country,” Coffman said in a statement. “The DACA program that has given them an opportunity to come out of the shadows, legally work and pursue higher education.”
The discharge petition requires 218 signatures — the will of a House majority — to force a vote. Coffman said he believes the maneuver is unique in this particular instance because the petition is typically used by the minority party, “but not by a member of the majority party against the leadership of his own party.”